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Cover Story – Bespoke Bathrooms – Oct/Nov2016

Cover Story - Bespoke Bathrooms - Oct/Nov2016

Photography By Larry Arnal

Three designers, three bathrooms, varying styles that all create a soothing sanctuary for homeowners.

Bath renovations are, in many cases, the most personal of home improvements, simply because the bathroom is the most personal of rooms. It’s here that you are at your most private; it’s perhaps the only place where you can completely escape from the outside world.

Renovating your bath is the perfect opportunity to completely indulge your own tastes and needs, even if you share it with other family members—whether you crave comfort and safety, pampering, or a room of your very own away from the demands of a hectic life.

The three stunning baths here are all special because each one was designed specifically for its individual owners’ desires and tastes. Perhaps you’ll find something here to inspire your own custom-tailored refuge.

1 – Sleek And Masculine

Designer Evelyn Eshun was tasked with making the main bathroom in a contemporary home more masculine than its original pink-and-mulberry colour scheme, since it would primarily be used by the couple’s 13-yearold son, and to replace a rather imposing corner tub and shower with two separate fixtures, without physically enlarging the room.

Removing the space-hogging corner tub immediately freed up space. Eshun replaced it with a sleek glass-walled shower, and lined its inner walls with 24×24-inch tiles in a more masculine, matte-finish pale grey. For design zing, there’s a horizontal “racing stripe,” about one-quarter down from the ceiling, of tiny ½-by-1-inch glass mosaics.

The new open feeling was further enhanced by oversize 18×36-inch porcelain floor tiles that resemble polished cement, and by floating the vanity above the floor. With its quarter-cut walnut face, and a grey quartz countertop that tones with the floor tiles and rich grey-toned walls, it’s almost exactly the same size as the old vanity—but its combination of drawers and cabinets allows for more (and better organized) storage.

Choosing just the right shape of tub, which went on the wall directly opposite the vanity, required a bit more thought. “Oval tubs are beautiful, but they take up more room,” says Eshun, “and we didn’t want a rectangular one, because the corners can be sharp. Then we found the perfect combination: a tub with straight sides and round ends.” To give the tub wall a bit of presence, another wide-racing stripe, this time vertical and in an off-black matte porcelain tile, runs from the floor up to the ceiling directly behind the tub.

Though the room hasn’t grown in size, it feels much larger, thanks to cleaner, more neutral tile work and a more intelligent use of the room’s limited space. After all, “The bath is where you are at your most private,” says Eshun, “so it’s very important to make it functional and comfortable.”

CONTRACTOR: Ideal Management COUNTER : Bluemar Marble & Granite GLASS SHOWER: The Glass House HARDWARE : Upper Canada Specialty Hardware FLOOR TILES: Stone Tile PLUMBING FIXTURES AND ACCESSORIES: Canaroma SHOWER AND WALL TILES: Ciot CEILING TILES: Tycos Tile Inc.

2 – Old World Elegance

Yvonne Whelan’s master bath update not only adds the serenity and space the homeowners craved, but provides instant calm each time they enter it, using several types of marble for a variety of soothing effects.

After many years, the clients had had enough of their old bathroom, with its boxed-in tub, cramped shower and dated ’80s earth tones. They wanted the new bath to impart a serene, spa-like mood, and a layout that was open and well organized enough to allow two busy people to get ready together in the morning.

“Simply removing the tub box and shower freed up a surprising amount of space,” says Whelan. In their place, she installed a gracefully sculptured freestanding tub, and a short wall dividing the WC from the rest of the bath, adding privacy without enclosure. She relocated the shower closer to the vanity, where its glass “windows” and inner walls of Carrara marble—which continues along the back wall into the WC alcove —keep things visually connected.

Lighting was carefully chosen to brighten and maintain a clean, unified look. Over the tub is a circular fixture with a gold fluted rim and translucent, onyx-like glass; the vanity mirror is inset with a pair of low-key, semi-circular sconces with stainless-steel trim that visually double the light and pick up the white and metal touches in the room. The vanity itself, with its roomy, well-organized drawers, adds plenty of storage and elbow room for two.

But the pièce de resistance is the inlaid “area rug,” of one-inch grey-and-white marble octagons, framed with deep-grey slimline tiles, in the centre of the room; natural variations in the marble give it a beautiful, almost handwoven effect. Walls painted a soothing grey with blue-green undertones pick up the soft tones of the marble and complete the serene mood.

“Marble can sometimes be a bit finicky compared to other stones,” Whelan admits.,“but the effect is just so intoxicating.”

TILE: Saltillo Tile LARGE WALL AND FLOOR TILE: Oriental White Polished Marble SHOWER FLOOR: 2” Hexagon Bardiglio Polished Light Marble MOSIAC INLAY RUG: Sunflower Grey/Thassos Polished Marble TRIM AROUND MOSIAC: Bardiglio Imperiale Honed Marble VANITY: Ritchie Custom Cabinetry VANITY COUNTER: Caesarstone, Eggshell VANITY LIGHTING: Union Lighting & Furnishings LIGHTING ABOVE BATHTUB: Sonneman Paramount Flushmount BATH AND SINK FAUCETS: Grohe Eurosmart Cosmopolitan, Taps Mississauga TUB: Maax Ella Sleek Freestanding Tub, Taps Mississauga MASTER ENSUITE WALL COLOUR: #242 Pavilion Gray, Farrow & Ball MASTER ENSUITE CEILING: #2011 Blackened, Farrow & Ball FIREPLACE: Valor L1 2 sided Linear, Mississauga Home Comfort

3 – Timeless Classic

This sleek, contemporary bath by XTC Design’s Erica Westeroth addresses the needs of an older couple who are downsizing, while working around some common condo givens: a gloomy dropped ceiling, and unmovable plumbing outlets.

“Raising the ceiling, given that there was only so much height, required a bit of sleight of hand,” laughs Westeroth. Removing the ceiling drop and installing shallower- than-normal pot lights, as well as slimmer exhaust ducts, allowed her to gain just enough height to relieve the cramped feeling.

The old tub had been large and difficult to climb into and out of. Westeroth replaced it with a new tub and separate glass-walled shower enclosure side by side along one wall. A shallow quartz-composite deck in soft taupe extends behind the tub to form a comfy bench inside the shower; at the other end, the deck turns around the corner behind the tub and widens into a floating seat with deep-storage drawers underneath, and a tall cabinet on one side.

The vanity quartz-composite counter provides space to spread out, and wide storage drawers make it easy to store and retrieve items. Built-in mirrored cabinets slide up and open vertically at a touch.

Many of the room’s details are more than visually beautiful. Since the homeowners plan to stay here for many years, the bath will serve the couple’s changing needs as they grow older. The high-contrast, white quartz facing on the tub makes its edges easy to see, while faucet handles and recessed vanity pulls are easy to operate and eliminate accidental bumps. The shower threshold is only a few centimetres high; a hand-held shower bar as well as rain showerhead offers a choice of a standing or sitting shower, with a grab bar to help ease up from a sitting position. And non-slip matte floor tiles, along with a variety of matte and gloss finishes on the walls and other surfaces, add beauty and visual interest as well as secure footing.


SINK: Kohler, Verticyl Under-Mount Bathroom Sink; White Pop-Up Drain, BATHTUB: Neptune, Zen with Armrests, White TOILET – Toto, Eco Supreme, Elongated WALL-MOUNTED FAUCET: Hansgrohe, PuraVida WALL-MOUNTED SINGLE-HANDLE FAUCET TRIM DECK MOUNT ROMAN TUB SET: Hansgrohe, PuraVida 4-HOLE ROMAN TUB SET TRIM RAINHEAD: Hansgrohe, PuraVida 400 AIR SHOWERHEAD WITH SHOWERARM PAINT COLOURS: WALLS – Benjamin Moore, A La Mode, #2109-70 CEILING – Benjamin Moore, Chantilly Lace, #OC-65 DOORS – Benjamin Moore, A La Mode, #2109-70


Martha Uniacke Breen has been writing about architecture and design for over 30 years. Her work has appeared in National Post, Style at Home, Canadian Interiors, Toronto Home, and many other publications. In this issue, Martha takes a look at a trio of bathrooms that have been tailored precisely to the needs (and dreams) of their owners.